You may have heard the rally cry “Porn Kills Love” from our friends at Fight the New Drug. And it’s true —porn kills marriages and self-esteem and leads to the despicable exploitation of children. But today, let’s talk about how love kills porn! Love can be used to protect, respond to and help heal children (and adults) affected by pornography.

group of happy children, love kills porn

These ideas were recently shared by Joy D. Jones, General President of the Primary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has the responsibility for over one million children across the world. Joy is also a mom and is deeply concerned about how pornography is harming children.

At a recent conference Joy warned, “I am concerned that many parents may not yet realize how dangerous pornography really is or may think it’s only a problem for the boy next door. Reality is, this problem is affecting our boys and our girls and we’re not talking about it enough. The good news is that it’s never too late. We can begin today.”

3 Ways love kills porn

Joy suggests love can motivate us in how we prepare, how we respond, and how we listen —particularly with our children. If we are going to have any hope of eradicating this plague from the world, love must be both at the forefront and the foundation of all our efforts.

She describes 3 ways of saying I love you:

  • I love you means I will protect you from pornography.
  • I still love you means I will create an open conversation so you can tell me what you’ve seen.
  • I will always love you means Despite your mistakes, you will not lose my love. I will always be here to help you.

I love you = I’ll protect you

Talk with your children: Joy first encourages parents to talk with their children about sex and pornography. She cautions if we don’t, someone else will:

For some reason, we don’t talk very much to youth and children about one of the strongest urges and biggest temptations they will face. Our reluctance sets them up to be taught primarily by the internet, other children or teenagers, or even Hollywood.”

Smarphone advice: Joy then has advice about providing smartphones to children. She illustrates this with the proverb of the snake who cajoles a boy into carrying him down from a mountain. The snake then proceeds to bite him, releasing his fatal venom. When the shocked boy asked why the snake bit him, the snake replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

Joy compares smartphones to snakes:

“We cannot put cell phones with internet access into the hands of young children who aren’t old enough to have been sufficiently taught, do not yet have necessary reasoning and decision-making abilities, and who don’t have parental controls and other tools to help protect them.”

Too much gas, not enough brake: The “thinking brain” is not fully developed in children or even in teens. That means kids have use of the gas pedal before their brakes are fully developed. Adding easy access to online porn only makes this developmental reality more dangerous for kids.

Here’s how we talk about it in Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids:

Mom picked up my brother’s toy race car from off the floor. ‘Pretend this car is real. The gas pedal is like the attraction center. The brakes are like the thinking brain. What would happen if you pushed the gas pedal to the floor and the brakes weren’t working?’

I would crash and get hurt.’

Right. Pornography is dangerous because viewing it can put the feeling brain and its attraction center in charge of driving you, a long time before your thinking brain has strong enough brakes to control those kinds of feelings…’”’

© Glen Cove Press, LLC

I still love you = I’ll respond to you in love

Fear of getting in trouble: Children don’t often tell their parents what they’ve been exposed to online —especially in the case of pornography. They may fear “getting in trouble” or other punishment, like not being able to play with electronics or losing a friend. Joy advises:

Earlier discussions are better, and children will come forward more readily when they know they are loved and nothing they say or do can change that love. Very rarely, however, does a child come forward voluntarily…Parents, we must start the conversation and not wait for children to come to us.”

Loving responses: She also reminds parents that loving responses to minor troubles create a foundation that will keep communication open when big troubles come along. Most importantly, children will know, “I still love you. I don’t stop loving you because something happened. I always love you.”

Natural opportunities: Our love for our children will motivate us to educate and mentor our kids, about both the good and the bad in their digital and physical worlds. Joy suggests that we take natural opportunities in the car, at bedtime, or after school to talk with them, and not at them.  

I will always love you = Despite your mistakes, my love will be constant

After serious mistakes: Has your child ever set your backyard on fire? This actually happened in the Jones family when Joy and her husband were away from home. Fire engines were called and by the time they returned, their young son had been lectured by a fireman and was quaking with fear. Despite the seriousness of the situation, both Joy and her husband embraced their son, assured him of their love and relief that he was OK. She pleads for parents to find compassion:

When children are exposed to pornography and especially when they get caught in its web, they will be embarrassed, frightened, and tearful too. It’s difficult to take something that has been in the dark and expose it to light. It feels shameful and vulnerable. They may have failures and challenges along the way as they recover and heal. Their need for constant love is critical.”

Love is the secret weapon

The power of love to combat an industry that is anything but loving, is immense. It’s easy to become anxious, fearful or angry when we think of our children seeing or seeking out pornography. But love kills porn! Responding with love in these 3 ways described above will preserve and build our relationships with our children. Alongside their safety, that is the ultimate goal.

So say I love you by:

  1. Protecting your children from pornography,
  2. Responding with open and loving conversations, and
  3. Helping your kids heal by assuring them that your love will always be available despite their mistakes.

To learn more about how love kills porn, read the full text of Joy Jones’ It Starts With Us here

Free SMART Plan Guide

Get prepared! For more help in responding to children who have seen pornography, please grab a copy of our SMART Plan for Parents Guide. To get started today click on the image below: 

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.